BROWNIE CUPCAKES WITH FONDANT TOPPING

Not too long ago I shared a series of brownie cupcakes with a light milk glaze that you can take in many different directions depending on what you use to flavor the milk. In this post the same simple cupcakes were topped with fondant textured with a silicone mat. You will need a very small amount of buttercream spread on the top to serve as a glue for the fondant. I had some leftover from macarons, but you need so little that I would not mind if you grabbed a store-bought version. Perhaps a Wilton cream cheese frosting, which is not too sweet. It won’t be as good as home-made, but you will barely taste it in this case. Recipe for the cupcakes found here.

HEARTS AND GOLD BROWNIE CUPCAKE

Maybe my favorite of the trio, made using this mini-fondant mat. I used Sugarprism red to paint the hearts, and Egyptian gold luster + everclear to highlight the details. A little shower with Champagne glitter dust from TheSugarArt sealed the deal for me.

SPRINGTIME BROWNIE CUPCAKE

For this cupcake, I used one of my favorite little mats, which I bought a couple of years ago. You can find it here. After it dried a little bit, I painted using vodka + luster powder yellow, green, pink and the center of the flower with Egyptian gold. I could not help but finish them with some White Diamond Dust, again from TheSugarArt.

PINK SWIRLS BROWNIE CUPCAKE

For this cupcake I used this large silicone mat, and selected the region I wanted to top the cupcake by placing the round cookie cutter over it. Once the fondant dried for a few minutes, I brushed the surface with a glaze made with TrueColor Air-brush Shine Pink. The small detail in the center of the flower was added with Sugarprism red.

These are the three mats used in this set of brownie cupcakes…

Fondant mats are great little tools to play with, and work equally well with marzipan and even modeling chocolate. Some mats work better than others, and it does take some trial and error to get the impression perfect in the whole extension. With fondant, a bit of cornstarch helps. The advantage of cupcakes is their small area, a lot more forgiving to get it right.

Speaking of marzipan…

In these lemon cupcakes made a couple of years ago and for some reason never blogged (!!!!). The same white mat of the picture was used with rolled marzipan and dusted with dry luster powder in yellow and pink. Amazing what I find in forgotten folders in my computer. Sad thing is that I don’t even remember which recipe I used for them… I might have to re-visit this important issue!

ONE YEAR AGO: Brown Sugar Cookies with Buttercream Icing

TWO YEARS AGO: Mandioca Frita 101 

THREE YEARS AGO: Raspberry Puffs

FOUR YEARS AGO: Vietnamese-ish Chicken

FIVE YEARS AGO: Rutabagas Anna

SIX YEARS AGO: The Ultimate Raspberry Sorbet

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Crispy Cornmeal Sweet Potato Fries

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Pan-grilled Tilapia with Smoked Paprika & Avocado Cream

NINE YEARS AGO: Golden Saffron and Fennel Loaf

TEN YEARS AGO: In My Kitchen, July 2011

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Heavenly Homemade Fromage Blanc

TWELVE YEARS AGOA Perfect Sunday Dinner

SMOKED SHRIMP TACOS WITH ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA

To make this simple recipe, you’ll need a smoker. If you don’t have one, use the same rub on the shrimp and grill it. I am not too wild about liquid smoke, and would rather omit that component than include it in the rub, but if you have a brand you are fond of and know how much to use, go for it. The Roasted Jalapeno Salsa was published last week on Mimi’s blog, and I made it on the same day I read it. I just knew we would love it. Beware, it is spicy!

SMOKED SHRIMP TACOS WITH ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA
(from The Bewitching Kitchen and Mimi’s blog)

for the dry rub:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp hot chili powder
2 tsp salt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1 pound jumbo shrimp, peeled, deveined, and tails removed

Heat the smoker to 200F with mesquite, oak, or pecan wood.

In a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients for the dry rub. Pour the rub over the shrimp and make sure everything is well coated. Add the shrimp to the smoker and smoke for 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with the salsa, and your favorite toppings.

ROASTED JALAPENO SALSA
(slightly modified from Chef Mimi)

6 large jalapeños
4 Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 generous bunch cilantro, chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pepper, to taste

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Start by preparing the jalapeños. Remove the stems, then slice them vertically around the core of seeds. Discard the seeds and stems. Roughly chop the jalapeño slices and place them in a medium-sized bowl. Chop the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds, then place them in with the jalapeños. Toss the mixture with the oil and salt, then place it in a baking/roasting dish. Roast until vegetables are caramelized, about 30 minutes.Place the roasted jalapeno-tomato mixture with the cilantro and other ingredients in a food processor and pulse, until the desired texture.

ENJOY!

to print the recipes, click here

Comments: I made the salsa around lunch time, kept it in the fridge and brought to room temperature as I prepared the shrimp. Everything was ready then in less than 30 minutes, perfect weeknight meal. The shrimp turned out juicy and tender, with a nice flavor from the dry rub. And the roasted jalapeno salsa went perfectly with it. But if you are not into spicy food, this is definitely not for you. My Dad, the pepper-addict, would be proud of me! The shrimp is actually quite mildly flavored, so consider just serving it with a store-bough mild salsa if you prefer.

ONE YEAR AGO: Corn Fritters

TWO YEARS AGO: Minnie Macarons

THREE YEARS AGO: Air-Fried Mexican Meatloaf

FOUR YEARS AGO: Mimi’s Sticky Chicken, a Call from my Past

FIVE YEARS AGO: Perfect Soy-Grilled Steak

SIX YEARS AGO: The Devil’s Bread

SEVEN YEARS AGO: Heart of Palm Salad Skewers

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Potluck Frittata and Lavoisier

NINE YEARS AGO: Home-made Corn Tortillas

TEN YEARS AGO: Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Peanut Sauce

ELEVEN YEARS AGO: Brigadeiros: A Brazilian Party!

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Lemony Asparagus

ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD

Another recipe that was highly recommended by editors of the food section in The New York Times. We will be paying close attention to those reviews from now on, because so far everything we’ve tried has been a total winner. I made a few modifications to adapt to our taste, so I share my version with you. Barley is definitely under-appreciated.

ROASTED CARROT AND BARLEY SALAD
(adapted from The New York Times)

1 cup pearled barley
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 pounds carrots, washed, trimmed and cut into long pieces
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons honey
zest of 1 lemon
2 cups arugula
A handful of cilantro
¼ cup toasted sliced almonds

for the spiced tahini:
¼ cup tahini
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 teaspoon Ras-el-hanout
water to adjust consistency

Heat oven to 425 degrees and place a rack on the lowest shelf. In a medium saucepan, combine barley with 4 cups water; season with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer until tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. Drain excess water if still some remains.

Meanwhile, place the carrots on a sheet pan, drizzle with the olive oil and toss to coat, spreading into an even layer. Season with salt and pepper. Place on the bottom oven rack and roast until tender and starting to turn golden, about 25 minutes.

While the carrots roast, make the dressing: In a medium bowl, whisk together the tahini, lemon juice, Ras-el-hanout, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is smooth and has a pourable consistency.

When the carrots are ready, remove them from the oven, drizzle with honey and sprinkle with lemon zest. Season with a pinch of salt and toss to coat.

In a serving bowl, combine the carrots with the barley, arugula and parsley. Drizzle with the spiced tahini and sprinkle with almonds. Try not to over-eat…

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: This was one of the best side dishes of the year of 2021 that showed up at our table. I do have a very special place in my heart for tahini, so maybe that explains my love for this recipe. You can cook the barley and roast the carrots in advance. In that case, just warm the carrots briefly in the microwave – I mean for 20 seconds tops – because it’s nice to have the contrast of warm carrots with the cold salad. If you are not too fond of arugula, spinach will work too, but there’s something about the slightly bitter nature of arugula that works well here.

ONE YEAR AGO: Ode to Halva

TWO YEARS AGO: Brazilian Pao de Queijo (re-blogged)

THREE YEARS AGO: Apricot Linzer Torte

FOUR YEAR AGO: A Trio of Air-Fried Goodies

FIVE YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SIX YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip Over Cucumber Slices 

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

NINE YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

TEN YEARS AGO:
Hoegaarden Beer Bread

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:
 Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!


TWELVE YEARS AGO:
 Shrimp Moqueca

INCREDIBLY SIMPLE POBLANO TAHDIG

With this post I will upset a lot of people. First, by mixing a classic Middle Eastern recipe with a Mexican component. And second, by making it a much quicker version than the authentic. However, since I first made this version back in 2019, I never stopped. It is by far the most requested side dish by the resident food critic, and I adore it too. My only problem lies with that portion control thing. I tend to over-eat because it’s just too good. The basic method is the same, and to be honest I don’t even measure anything now, because it always works. This version rocked our little world.

POBLANO TAHDIG
(from The Bewitching Kitchen)

1 cup rice
3 cups lightly salted water
1 Poblano pepper, roasted with a touch of olive oil until soft
1/3 cup full-fat yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chipotle pepper (or other pepper of your choice)
drizzle of olive oil

Mix the yogurt with the poblano pepper, salt and chipotle pepper. Process with a mini-food processor until smooth. Reserve.

Cook the rice for 12 minutes in salted boiling water and immediately drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Rice and yogurt mixture can sit separately for a couple of hours before continuing.

Mix the rice with the yogurt. Heat a 10-inch non-stick skillet and add olive oil, swirling around the whole surface. When the oil starts to get hot, add the rice-yogurt mixture and spread it all over the pan, smoothing the surface with a silicon spoon. Cover the rice with a paper towel moistened with water, then place a lid. Don’t worry if the lid is not totally tight.

Place on a low-burner for exactly 30 minutes. At the end of 30 minutes check to see if the bottom is golden, if not, increase the heat lightly and remove the lid. Leave it for a minute or two, should be enough to make a nice crust at the bottom. Carefully place a platter on top and invert the rice on it. Cut in wedges to serve.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: The above picture shows what was left once we finished our dinner. We could have inhaled it all, but I decided to consider my lunch next day. If you are a rice lover, please try this method. And now that we loved the poblano version so much, I have plenty of other variations to try. The only thing to keep in mind is under-cooking the rice in the beginning, and choosing a skillet that is right for the amount of rice you have. For 1 cup dry rice, the 10-inch skillet is perfect. Thirty minutes on low-heat. DONE.

ONE YEAR AGO: Roasted Green Beans and Tomatoes with Tahini Sauce

TWO YEARS AGO: Brazilian Pao de Queijo 

THREE YEARS AGO: The Chignon

FOUR YEARS AGO: Rack of Lamb Sous-Vide with Couscous Salad

FIVE YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SIX YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip over Cucumber Slices

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

NINE YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

TEN YEARS AGO:Hoegaarden Beer Bread

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:
 
Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!

TWELVE YEARS AGO: Shrimp Moqueca

BAHARAT FLOWER SOURDOUGH

I am quite fond of adding Middle Eastern spices to sourdough bread, and this time I experimented with “baharat.” Interestingly, the word “baharat” means “spices” and a commercially available mixture might have different proportions of many kinds, depending on the origin. You can also make your own, using the formula suggested in this article. I went with a store-bought product, and chose this one. It has intense flavor, but it is not overly hot.

BAHARAT FLOWER SOURDOUGH
(from the Bewitching Kitchen)

385g white bread flour
16g whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp baharat mixture
8g salt
280g water
65g sourdough starter at 100% hydration

optional for decoration:
egg white + a little water (egg wash)
sesame seeds (I used a mixture of white and black)
luster powder + vodka

Make the levain mixture about 6 hours before you plan to mix the dough. It should be very bubbly and active.

When you are ready to make the final dough, place the water in the bowl of a KitchenAid type mixer and dissolve the starter in it, mixing with a spatula briefly, then add the two types of flour, the baharat and the salt. Turn the mixer on with the hook attachment and knead the dough for 4 minutes at low-speed all the time. If the dough is too sticky, add 1/4 cup flour, you want the dough to start clearing the sides of the bowl, but still be sticky at the bottom.

Remove from the machine, and transfer to a container lightly coated with oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and allow it to ferment for 4 hours, folding every 45 minutes or so. After four hours bulk fermentation, shape the dough as a ball, and place, seam side up, in a lightly floured banetton. Leave at room temperature one hour, and then place in the fridge overnight, from 8 to 12 hours.

Next morning, heat the oven to 450F. Invert the dough over parchment paper, rub gently white flour on the surface. Score with a flower pattern and paint the details with a bright color using luster powder diluted with vodka. You need it to be a bit on the thick side, and don’t worry about precision, it will more or less mix with any flour bits around it. Do not worry. Paint the center of the flower pattern with egg wash and gently press sesame seeds on it.

Bake at 450F for 45 minutes, preferably covered for the first 30 minutes to retain steam. Cool completely over a rack before slicing.

ENJOY!

to print the recipe, click here

Comments: If you ask me which type of spice is my favorite for sourdough, I would have to politely decline to answer. I love them all. I tend to use curry more often than others but probably because I have two or three types of curry in the pantry and like to put them to use. The amount included gives just a hint of flavor and the bread is still good to enjoy with anything you want. Even plain with a little olive oil or butter.

ONE YEAR AGO: Biscoitinhos de Canela

TWO YEARS AGO: Salmon Tacos

THREE YEARS AGO: The Chignon

FOUR YEARS AGO: Rack of Lamb Sous-Vide with Couscous Salad

FIVE YEARS AGO: Focaccia with Grapes, Roquefort and Truffled Honey

SIX YEARS AGO: Moroccan Carrot Dip over Cucumber Slices

SEVEN YEARS AGO: White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

EIGHT YEARS AGO: Cilantro-Jalapeno “Hummus”

NINE YEARS AGO:A Moving Odyssey

TEN YEARS AGO:Hoegaarden Beer Bread

ELEVEN YEARS AGO:
 
Ancho-Chile Marinade: Pleased to Meat you!


TWELVE YEARS AGO:
 
Shrimp Moqueca